Movie of the Day – El Mariachi

I decided to keep with the previous theme of guns, music, and women.  So why not go back to the movie that launched Robert Rodriguez’s career, El Mariachi.  The epitome of rebel film making, El Mariachi pretty burst onto the scene with the help of Columbia Pictures and their penchant of giving young film makers a chance to distribute their movie.  Notice I said distribute and not finance the movie.  El Mariachi was written, directed, edited, produced, scored, and paid for by Robert Rodriguez.  His tenacity for wanting to make this movie drove him to finance it in any way shape and form.  He went through medical testing groups to get money just to get it off the ground.

El Mariachi is the beginning of what has been known as the Mariachi Trilogy, while Desperado and Once Upon A Time In Mexico being the sequel and final movie.  El Mariachi is not the prettiest looking movie of the bunch, sine it was shot on cruddy 16mm film and intended for the Mexican home video market.  The movie went to gain a cult status amongst film viewers, as the movie showcased what a creative mind can do with only $7,000 US Dollars and fuck it all attitude.

El Mariachi follows the story of a ruthless criminal, Azul, and the local drug lord, Moco.  Azul breaks out of jail and vows to take revenge on Moco, who put him in jail.  Azul is armed with his signature guitar case full of guns.  This is not the hero of the movie, but rather sets up what will happen to our intrepid hero, El Mariachi.  Again no name given for the hero as in the second and third movie.  Our hero, El, is the new guy in town who is looking for work as a Mariachi.  He is also carrying a guitar and case.  So Moco knowing that Azul is after him, sends his thugs to kill Azul, but mistake El for Azul since they are both carrying a guitar case.  So El kills the guys in self defense and this is where the fun begins.

After dispatching the thugs, El takes refuge in a bar run by a woman named Domino, whom he falls in love with her (real fucking quick). Anyways, Azul comes into the bar getting info and accidentally leaves with El’s guitar case.  The thugs capture El and then is set free after being clears be Moco.  Azul finds out that Domino knows where Moco lives and takes her hostage and drives to Moco.  And a giant fucking shoot out happens between Moco, Azul and El, who happened to come back to the Moco’s after realizing Domino was missing and Azul had taken her hostage.

Kind of a convoluted plot, but who gives a shit.  El Mariachi has some fantastic action pieces and the way that Rodriguez goes all in with his hand really helps elevate the movie to that grindhouse status it has achieved.

The movie is not the prettiest or most interesting thing out there.  Even though this was shot back in 1992, the movie still has this classic cult quality to it.  One must admire what Robert Rodriguez was able to do with the budget and constraints he had as a film maker.  Using cheap locations, hire locals to play in the movie, and having no one tell him what he can and can’t do helped usher in this rebel film making.  This should be a must for any young film maker that is wanting to get started making movies.  The movie is jammed pack with action and all the trimmings that make a cult movie what it is.

If you can, rent the movie rather than watching it online.  One of the main reasons to rent it is that you can listen to the commentary track and hear Rodriguez talk about every small detail of the movie, down to financing and making the effects of the movie.  It is fascinating hearing Robert talk about his trials and tribulations of making that movie.  You get a more in depth perspective of making a movie on a shoe string budget.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

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